The pay TV broadcaster strikes back with plans to develop its own range of smart TVs so viewers don’t have to have a separate box.
As free-to-air broadcasters seek to further integrate their streaming services under the Freeview brand on smart TVs, Sky sees its next strategic move in smart TVs with built in Sky Q functionality.
Reports suggest that it would be similar in concept to Roku smart TVs: integrating all the features of a previously separate device inside a smart TV.
The FT quotes those with knowledge of the development that announcements could come as early as next month. Sky has said it won’t comment on product rumours.
It’s already expected to imminently announce a dish-less version of its product in the UK.
In recent years, most smart TVs sold in the UK have come equipped with Freeview Play. This means they can receive digital terrestrial TV by default and all related catch-up and on-demand services without any additional box. In some instances, this includes Sky’s budget service Now. The integration of Freesat and Freeview under one company opens up the possibility to extend the Freeview Play gateway to satellite dish users.
To compete, Sky has been working to secure unique content and apps for Sky Q, plus an enhanced interface that is better at integrating on-demand content from various providers. It also offers a single billing platform to allow its subscribers to easily add non-inclusive streaming services to their main Sky bill. But Sky Q risks being overshadowed by the functionality of the TV connected to it.
Sky hopes that by controlling TVs, it will have greater leverage with content providers. Arguably that could include acquiring the exclusive smart TV rights to a certain app. But it could also make it less likely that streaming services can side-step Sky by striking a deal with TV manufacturers so that smart TV users can still access a service even if it’s not available through the Sky Q box.